Hurricane Maria is a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane that is churning its way toward the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, when it is forecast to make landfall on the island likely as a Category 5 hurricane.
The latest Watches & Warnings:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat
- S. Virgin Islands
- British Virgin Islands
- Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques
- Cabo Engano to Puerto Plata
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Saba and St. Eustatius
- West of Puerto Plata to the northern border of the Dominican
- Republic and Haiti
- West of Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
- Saba and St. Eustatius
- Martin and St. Barthelemy
- Isla Saona to Cabo Engano
- Turks and Caicos Islands and the Southeastern Bahamas
Maria will likely cause widespread, catastrophic damage to much of Puerto Rico on Wednesday as it moves over the island with 165 MPH winds. The latest data from the National Hurricane Center suggests that Maria has continued to strengthen, with a minimum central pressure of 916 mb. We’ll continue to see fluctuations in the strength and intensity of the hurricane until it impacts Puerto Rico. After it emerges from the island, it will begin to gradually weaken over the next several days as it turns more northerly.
Storm surge will be quite dangerous as water levels will range between 7 to 11 feet above normal. Rainfall will also be quite high, with 12 to 18 inches of rain likely for much of Puerto Rico. Some places could see rainfall reach or exceed 25 inches. Heavy rainfall combined with high storm surge will lead to significant flooding both along the immediate coast and inland.
Several tornadoes are also possible as Maria moves through the area.
If you are in or know someone in Puerto Rico, now is the time to seek shelter. If you are able to get off of the island, do so immediately! Otherwise, it is suggested you take shelter in a very sturdy building away from coastal areas until Maria has passed through the area. Substantial structure damage from strong winds, tornadoes, and flooding will be likely in many areas. Power will likely be out for several days if not weeks and many roads will likely be impassable for long periods of time. Additionally, the availability of food and water will also be limited for an extended period of time.
Right now, Maria does not look to make impact with the United States. However, the hurricane will likely cause high surf along the east coast early next week. Maria will remain a major hurricane through Saturday as it begins a gradual weakening trend by Sunday and early next week. Maria could also bring at least tropical storm conditions to parts of the Bahamas through the weekend. The center of Maria looks to remain just offshore of the Dominican Republic however if the hurricane does make landfall here, it would help to weaken the system. Significant damage can be expected along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic late Wednesday and Thursday.
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